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Eric the Red

Explorer

Born: c. 950
Died: c. 1000
Birthplace: Norway
Best known as:

The viking explorer who colonized Greenland

Eric the Red (also Erik Thorvaldson, Eirik Raude or Eirik Torvaldsson) was a native of Norway and the founder of the first European settlement in Greenland. Nicknamed for the color of his hair, Eric was apparently exiled around 980 for killing two men. For three years he sailed around and explored the southern part of what he dubbed Greenland. In 986 he left Iceland with more than 20 ships and around 400-500 people. He arrived in Greenland with 14 boats and an estimated 350 colonizers. Although the settlement eventually disappeared, it opened the door to centuries of occasional explorations of the area and colonization attempts by northern Europeans. Eric the Red's son was Leif Ericson, who went on to become one of the first Europeans to sail to North America.

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